Retirement Analyzer

Amazingly, 4 out of 5 Americans do not understand even the basics of how to successfully plan for a financially secure retirement.  According to a new study released by The American College of Financial Services, the 2020 Retirement Income Literacy Survey discovered major gaps in savings knowledge.

Here are some of the findings from the report:

  • 8 out of 10 people failed a 38-question online quiz on financial literacy, with an average score of just 42%.
  • Nearly 4 out of 10 consumers reported feeling highly prepared for the market downturn associated with the pandemic, and what made a difference in consumers’ perception of preparedness was having a formal, written retirement plan.
  • Only 1 out of 3 respondents reported having a written plan.

As financial advisors we have a huge opportunity to help our clients develop a written retirement plan to bring them peace and security into their retirement years. Some advisors struggle with the right program or software to help accomplish this.

Retirement Analyzer Pro and Pro+ are easy-to-use, end-to-end financial planning software packages that allow you to create and share financial plans while modeling any type of financial strategy. Your clients will appreciate the simplicity and professionalism of the plans you provide. That is why so many Asset Advisors are currently using this tool to close sales.

By signing up for this important program before 2/28/21, your relationship with Asset gives you a highly discounted rate. Normally $798 annually, you can receive an amazing price of $300. That’s a $498 annual savings! For $25.00 a month, you can be providing your clients with their written robust, yet simple retirement plan.  (Rate increases to $360 on 3/1/21.)

Click here for the Quick Start Guide for Retirement Analyzer

Women in Finance
Marketing Ideas

There are many creative marketing ideas to appeal to the female consumer. This audience, which often is the financial decider in the family, craves information. But because of women’s intrinsic qualities of being relationship driven, driven by a purpose, multi taskers, and masterful communicators, you have more opportunity to attract this audience.

Consider some of these unique ideas for your next marketing event:

  • Financial workshop (still relevant)
  • February, Galentine’s event
  • Wine tasting experience (in person or online)
  • Online mixology class
  • Online cooking class
  • Create a dream board

Women thrive when interacting with others, and hands on experiences help people in general to learn better.

We encourage you to call your Marketing or Business Consultant to learn how to capitalize on these ideas and discover what tools Asset has available for you when pursuing a women in finance niche.

The SECURE Act is Here – Take Advantage of the Opportunity

Jessica Stallings – Marketing Consultant


The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) was signed by President Trump December 20th and became Law January 1st 2020.  The goal of the act is provide tools, together with tax relief, for the purpose of better preparing Americans for retirement.  

The average consumer has been flooded with information since the start of the year, but most are still finding themselves in search of answers about what changes may impact their individual situations. As an advisor, the changes may seem simple to you, however your clients need to be educated and will be looking to you for your expertise to get all their concerns addressed. 

Don’t assume your clients or prospects understand how the SECURE Act affects them. This is the perfect opportunity to engage with them.

We have created a customizable Secure Act Flyer for your convenience. Use this piece in your client and prospect communication in conjunction with any of marketing tactics listed below:

Download SECURE ACT FLYER

  • Host an Educational Event specifically on the state of the economy and new law changes
  • Host a Dinner Seminar or Workshop on any topic and plug in the SECURE Act information
  • Send out an email blast including the SECURE Act flyer 
  • Send an informative newsletter with suggested bullet points or flyer
  • Post a blog on your website (Bonus: Share it on Facebook)
  • Add top-of-mind bullet points to your current event invitations (see options below)

Top bullet points to add to your mailers:

  • Learn the key take-aways from the SECURE Act
  • Learn about the new opportunities created under the SECURE Act
  • Learn what pitfalls to avoid under the SECURE Act, especially as it relates to your retirement
  • Understand why an emphasis on guaranteed lifetime income was created in sections 203 & 204 of the SECURE Act
  • Five steps for every American to take right now in response to the SECURE Act
  • Why does the SECURE Act put a bright spotlight on annuities?
  • Find out why you may want to update your retirement and estate plans due to the SECURE Act
  • Stretch IRAs have been eliminated by the SECURE Act. What options are available for your heirs?

Please reach out to your Marketing Consultant if you would like help with additional collateral and/or planning your event about the SECURE Act.

The Ultimate Gift

Jeff Stemler, CLU, ChFC, CFP – Sr. Vice President – Advanced Planning
(Asset Marketing Systems)

“He was exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes old when he presented himself to the venerable Gatekeeper and waited for admittance to the Glorious Kingdom of God”

So begins the story of the “Littlest Angel”.

The story goes on tell how homesick and unhappy he is in heaven. When asked what would make him happy he said he had an old box hidden under his bed and it contained the things that were most precious to him.

His wish was granted, the box was returned to him and he was very happy to once again hold his beloved box and its contents. “When Jesus was born, the Littlest Angel had no gift for Jesus… except for his memory-filled box, and at the bottom of the box a limp, tooth-marked leather strap, once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion.”

I first heard this story when I was in the third grade and it has stayed with me all these years. Even at that young age, I understood this was an example of unconditional love, and that battered old box was the Littlest Angel’s ultimate gift.

With Christmas upon us, the thoughts of giving and receiving gifts are all around us.  But there is one gift that can only be given with unconditional love and that is life insurance.  We have nothing materially to gain by providing life insurance for our family, but we can know in our hearts that we have kept the promises when we got married and held our babies, to protect and provide for those we love.

Just like that battered old box, our gift of life insurance is our ultimate gift to our loved ones. 

Merry Christmas.

‘Tis the Season for Giving… A Look at Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

Sam Payne, RICP, CLTC – Vice President, Business Consultant
(Asset Marketing Systems)

As we quickly approach the end of one tax year and the beginning of another, a review of Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) and their application for some of your clients makes perfect sense.

Referrals, the holy grail of any enterprise, are a by-product of providing exceptional service and value to your existing clients.  So much so that they want to share you with their friends and acquaintances, and so you become referable.

Informing and educating clients who can take advantage of QCDs about them, and the benefit of doing so is one of those opportunities to add value.

What is a QCD? QCDs have been around in some form since the Pension Protection Act in 2006.  Their value changed as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2015, and under current tax law, they can provide an additional benefit for tax years through 2025.  Prior to 2017, the QCDs strategic importance lay primarily in the fact that it could help older taxpayers meet their philanthropic goals while also satisfying IRA required minimum distributions (RMDs).

Since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the increase in the standard deduction, many individuals find themselves in a position where total itemized deductions do not exceed the standard deduction.  So deducting charitable contributions will not have the benefit it may have had previously.

Here’s an example: 

For the 2019 tax year, a couple plans to file jointly. They are both age 75 and anticipate adjusted gross income (AGI) of $125,000, including $60,000 in RMDs. 

$125,000 total income   (including 60,000 RMD)

Standard deduction $27,000

Charitable gift $5,000  

Taxable income $98,000  ($125,000 minus standard deduction)

If the QCD was utilized, the taxable income would be $93,000 saving approximately $1,300 in taxes.

Reach out to your Business Consultant for more information on QCDs, the rules and limitations…then start talking to your clients currently receiving RMDs.  Are they giving to a charity annually, and are they utilizing the QCD? If not, show them how to!

To get more background on Qualified Charitable Distributions, watch the video below to hear Sam Payne discuss the history of QCDs along with a case study.

Today is like any other day.

Today is like any other day. At 5:30 I woke up. At 6:00 I helped Dad out of bed to go to the bathroom. By 7:00 I dressed him and sat him down so I could feed him his breakfast. After breakfast, I put him in his chair and turned on the TV. Around 9:00 took him to the bathroom again. At noon I prepared his lunch and fed it to him. The afternoon was TV and the usual bathroom breaks. Dinner was ready at 6:00 and I finished feeding him so he could watch his favorite show, Jeopardy, which is kind of funny since he has dementia and doesn’t know any of the answers. My day ends showering Dad and getting him into bed … tomorrow will be just like any other day.

Your life doesn’t end when you need extended care; the life, as they know it, can end for your care givers.

Extended care is a life changing event that can have devastating emotional and physical consequences to your spouse and children. Providing care to you may make them as chronically ill as you are. Those you love have no choice but to put aside their lives to make sure you are safe.

When you first got married and when your children were born you would do anything to assure their happiness and well-being. Long Term Care insurance is a gift of love. It is going to allow them to have a life. Long term Care insurance will allow them to supervise your care and not be the care givers, and for them tomorrow will be a brand new day.


November is Long Term Care awareness month and this topic certainly needs more awareness in our business. Unfortunately, too many clients do not insure themselves with Long Term Care coverage because they simply think they’ll be one of the people who don’t need it (only about 30% do not need care). The risk is obvious and the consequences to your family sometimes are overlooked if you become frail and need extended care.

The Asset product team has a variety of options and sales ideas to help you plan for your client’s Long Term Care risk. From Asset Based Long Term Care to FIAs with guaranteed income enhancements, when someone gets sick we can help you provide a solution.

The important part of positioning an underwritten Asset Based LTC product is to set the stage for that client during the sale and process. If they don’t qualify, we have incredible options using Fixed Index Annuities and enhanced income riders that will not involve underwriting. While FIAs with income riders are not true Long Term Care insurance, it will certainly help replace income when someone needs care.

Click here for the life top product list, and what our product team feels are the top three Asset Based LTC products!

Click here for the annuity top product list, and what our annuity team believes are the best products based on each client’s specific goals.

Would you like to see an illustration? Call the Asset Annuity & Life Team at 888-303-8755 and we’ll be happy to help you! Or, request an illustration through our Producer Portal by clicking here.

Planning for the Female Financial Perspective

Josh Ver Hoeve, VP of Annuity Sales
(Asset Marketing Systems)

Women may represent the single largest business opportunity over the next several decades. Here is just a sampling of why:

  • Women control an ever-increasing percentage of the personal wealth in this country – with estimates as high as $14 trillion – 51% of the current total
  • 67% of the nation’s assets are anticipated to be in women’s hands by 2020
  • 40% of women out-earn their husbands
  • Women continue to statistically outlive men
  • Women’s financial lives are also often more complex than men’s as they may need advice surrounding their roles as primary caregivers for not only their husbands but also their aging parents
  • As women age, their longer life spans leave them more susceptible to suddenly taking on additional financial responsibilities later in life
  • 80% of women switch advisors within a year of their husband’s deaths
  • 73% of women report being unhappy with the financial services industry
  • 87% say they can’t find an advisor with whom they can connect

The industry needs to stop treating women as a little niche that it can possibly serve. They are the market. In fact, according to statistics, women make 80% of the purchasing choices in the current market. As baby boomers age and husbands die in unprecedented numbers, women are taking control of increasing amounts of wealth. It is no secret that women view money and money matters much differently than men do.

Women tend to view investing as a way to preserve their wealth as compared to the male view of investing as a way to increase their wealth – Men tend to be more willing to take risks, or at least risks that offer greater reward and failure than the ones women will take.

Women – especially widows – want to know how they can protect their lifestyle and not become a financial burden on their children.

The greatest risk women face in retirement is LONGEVITY! Longevity means that women have a higher risk of suffering debilitating illnesses, spending more on healthcare costs, and have a higher risk of ending up in skilled nursing care. Living longer means that women need to make sure that their money lasts as long as they do.

To help women plan for retirement, we need to help them grow and protect assets, and account for the traditional risks, like inflation, taxes, market risk, as well as a focus on longevity risk, including planning for health care costs and the likelihood of needing some form of Long Term Care at some point. Remember the goal of most women, is to never be a burden to their children. If we can help them put that fear and worry to rest, we will allow women to live their BEST lives in retirement.

Perhaps one of the best product solutions is an Asset Based LTC/Life policy or Asset Based with Chronic life insurance policy. These policies can be designed to protect women from many of these risks while adding additional protection benefits when a spouse passes the passing of a spouse. There are so many products to fill these needs.

Click here to download Asset’s new client approved brochure called Understanding The Importance of Long-Term Care and call the Asset Life Department to have us run an illustration for you at 888-303-8755.

1 Ryan Gorman. Business Insider. April 71 2015. “Women now control more than half of US personal wealth, which ‘will only increase in years to come,”‘ http://www.businessinsider.com/women-now-control-more-than-half-of-us-personal­-wealth-2015-4.
2 Judy Paradi and Paulette Filion. Strategy Marketing. 2016. “Financial advisors are failing women: What female clients really want and how to change the dialogue.” http://www.etfcm.com/womenmoney/include/wadvisors-failing-woman.pdf.

The Madison Weekly Market Wrap

November 3, 2019
Volume 6, Issue 44


Market Monitor
Above the Market - Information is cheap; meaning is expensive

All-Time Highs

A lot happened last week, with the market action being largely peripheral, despite all-time highs being reached by some stock indexes and healthy rallies in both stocks and bonds. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve decided to cut interest rates for the third time in three months. In its previous statement, the Fed said it “will act as appropriate” to keep the economy going. This time, those words were missing. Instead, the Fed said it will “monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook as it assesses the appropriate path.” In his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, “We believe that monetary policy is in a good place.”

You may remember Barbara Billingsley (most famous for playing Beaver’s mom in Leave It to Beaver) translating “jive” in Airplane!

Today, you have me to translate Fedspeak. 

The Fed’s language change coupled with Mr. Powell’s comments suggest that the Fed is now on hold and will require additional evidence before easing further. Overall, that is probably good news for the market. Low real (after inflation) rates are usually very good for stocks. And despite repeated predictions from many analysts, there’s still no sign of broad-based inflation. 

In economic news, ADP said the economy created 125,000 private-sector jobs last month, 5,000 above expectations. Friday’s government jobs report for October showed a better-than-expected 128,000 jobs added. Manufacturing data was again weak. The government said that the economy grew at a 1.9 percent real annualized rate in the third quarter. That’s decent, but not great, basically in line with the current expansion. Overall, there’s no imminent threat of a recession. 

Many continue to anticipate the announcement of a “phase one” trade deal between the U.S. and China despite news that the two countries’ leaders would not be able to meet at a canceled upcoming economic summit in Chile. Obviously, an end to the trade war with China would be a very good thing for the economy.

Last week was the season’s busiest for third-quarter earnings reports (nearly a third – 158 – of S&P 500 companies delivered results last week). In a typical pattern, the majority of S&P 500 companies that have reported to date have beat analyst estimates, but both Thomson Reuters and FactSet expect overall earnings for the group to have declined modestly on a year-over-year basis. A plunge in profits in the volatile energy sector is expected to be largely responsible for the drop.   

A Friday rally spurred by the strong monthly jobs report helped stocks move solidly higher for a fourth consecutive week. The large-cap S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached new intraday and closing highs, while the smaller-cap benchmarks remained well off their late-2018 peaks. Within the S&P 500, health care stocks outperformed while energy shares lagged. Reflecting improved sentiment, the VIX — the so-called “fear index” — touched a four-month low.

As usual, Friday’s jobs data and Wednesday’s GDP data received plenty of trader attention, and it was positive for stocks. However, last week also brought further evidence of a persistent slowdown in manufacturing and business investment. The jobs report sparked a smaller reaction in the bond market, where longer-term U.S. Treasury yields rose somewhat on Friday but ended the week substantially lower as traders anticipate a pause in the Fed’s easing cycle. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 12bp last week to yield 1.73 percent

Many stock markets in Europe rose throughout last week, buoyed by the European Union’s decision to grant the UK a three-month Brexit extension, encouraging Chinese manufacturing data, and strong asset inflows into the region. In Asia, Japanese stocks traded slightly higher last week and Chinese stocks also recorded a weekly gain as strong earnings from mainland companies and data showing an upswing in private manufacturing activity offset U.S. trade-related concerns. 

From the headlines…

The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October — more than the 75,000 economists expected — while the unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday. The strong numbers came despite job growth held down by the 40-day United Auto Workers strike against General Motors, which has since ended.

The Chicago PMI, a reading that tracks manufacturing companies based in the Midwest, produced its weakest reading in four years and the second lowest in a decade. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing gauge showed the sector contracted in October for a third straight month.

So far, corporate earnings for the third quarter have been a bit better than expected.

Federal Reserve officials cut interest rates for the third time this year on Wednesday and began to downplay expectations of further cuts for now. What it means to you.

The U.S. economy grew 1.9 percent in the third quarter. While slightly higher than what economists expected, the number marks a slowdown from the beginning of this year as the boost from President Trump’s tax cuts fades and the U.S.-China trade war weighs on growth.

The U.S. Treasury Department expressed continued interest in issuing a 50-year bond, for the first time, as part of efforts to expand its investor base as the budget deficit widens to $1 trillion.

“With leading Democratic presidential candidates proposing tens of trillions of dollars of new federal spending, Republicans’ abdication of fiscal conservatism leaves Americans with no responsible party.”

Chinese officials are casting doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade deal with the U.S.

Tensions between the NBA and China have touched off an international firestorm. The parties remain at an impasse. They have also shined a light on the fight for human rights in Hong Kong — and the frontlinersat the center of the movement.

It’s wildfire season in California, and clients there need help.

There has not been this much invested in money market funds since 2009.

Make these 12 tax moves for 2019 before it’s too late. 

The ten scariest retirement statistics in 2019.


Chart of the Week

You might also have a look at the charts that scare Wall Street.


Fact of the Week

Americans paid banks $113 billion in credit card interest in 2018, up 12 percent from the $101 billion in interest paid in 2017, and up 49 percent over the last five years. That number is expected to go even higher for 2019.


Quote of the Week

“ALL BUSINESSES ARE LOOSELY FUNCTIONING DISASTERS, AND SOME ARE PROFITABLE DESPITE IT.

At 30,000 feet, the world is beautiful and orderly. On the ground, it’s chaotic and confusing. Nothing ever goes to plan. Surprises lurk around every corner. Things are constantly breaking. Someone is always upset. Mistakes are made daily. Expecting anything less is being out of touch with reality. And remember, just because you’re now aware of it doesn’t change reality. It was that way before, you just didn’t realize it.”

Brent Beshore


Securities and advisory services are offered through Madison Avenue Securities, LLC, a member of FINRA and SIPC, a registered investment advisor.

This report provides general information only and is based upon current public information we consider reliable. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes an offer or an invitation to make an offer, to buy or sell any securities or other investment or any options, futures or derivatives related to such securities or investments. It is not intended to provide personal investment advice and it does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities, other investment or investment strategies discussed or recommended in this report and should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. Investors should note that income from such securities or other investments, if any, may fluctuate and that price or value of such securities and investments may rise or fall. Accordingly, investors may receive back less than originally invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. Diversification does not guaranty against loss in declining markets.

No More Estate Planning

Frank Divers, Co-founder and CEO
(Estate Documents Pro, LLC)

Remove the term estate planning out of your vocabulary.   We are out of the estate plan sales business and full throttle into the education business.

Why? Simple, people don’t understand the term estate planning and are, in fact, intimidated by the wording. People fear what they don’t understand and taking the time to explain it will, for the most part, get you nowhere. The general response will be “oh, I see”. Not what you want to hear since it gets you nothing.

Consider this, asking questions that will lead to a response of “yes”. Do you have a durable power of attorney over finance? Yes or no. They say yes, do you keep it in a handy place and is it legal and up to date? They say no, you ask the question, “do you understand why this is one of the most important documents you can have”? Yes or no and regardless you go into detail about why having this document is critically important. Give examples of what can happen when you don’t have one. In ten to fifteen minutes of explaining the importance of having a durable power of attorney over finance and closing with the question, “now don’t you agree this is very important?” and you will get a resounding “yes”!

Follow this process, “do you have a durable power of attorney over healthcare?”. Educate and close with the same question, “now don’t you agree this is very important?” and you will get a resounding “yes”. “Do you have a will?” “Do you understand the difference between the government’s plan versus your own personal plan?”   Educate through each question to get to the closing question of “yes, I agree having this document is important”.

Your job, invest some time to go online and find some stories about what not having one of these documents means versus having it. Take your time explaining the government’s plan.  Don’t skim over the subject! Go into the details and doing so will lead to you getting a “yes” I agree.   You have walked your client/prospect through the process of understanding all the documents they need in their life. That’s called estate planning.   Congratulate your client on their wise decision to make sure their life is “planned out”.

Contact AMS to learn about our solution to marketing to Estate Planning and to get access to an all-digital planning platform.

Annuities and Estate Planning

October is National Estate Planning Month and although many times we think of life insurance when trying to solve estate planning concerns, annuities are just as important of a focus. Here are a couple of items to think about when dealing with Annuities and Estate Planning:

Common Annuity Mistakes:

Most of the common annuity mistakes that are made are very simple mistakes that can be corrected by doing policy reviews. Common mistakes to look out for are things like naming correct owners and annuitants, naming primary and contingent beneficiaries correctly, but more importantly updating them as time goes on. Nationwide happens to have an advanced sales team to help you with some of these questions as it relates to both life and annuity sales. Utilize the Nationwide advanced sales team and the Asset team to assist you with any unique circumstances you might have.

Wealth Transfer via Annuities:

Still, one of the best death benefit wealth transfer annuities on the market is the Athene BCA with FER MAX rider. When planning for wealth transfer for a client who may not be insurable, be sure to ask the annuity team about this product. Another very good accumulation story and death benefit FIA option is with the Nationwide New Heights using their high point death benefit rider. This rider captures the highest daily value and uses that value as a lump sum death benefit. Other options for simplified underwritten life products are things like the EquiTrust WealthMax Bonus which issues to age 80! This is a life product but works a lot like an annuity and also has a 100% ROP.

Contact the Asset annuity product team to learn more about the above products and how you can use them as part of your clients next estate plan.